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Sustainability of the built environment

Objectives of the consultation

This inquiry issued by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee will examine the sustainability of the built environment. It will look at the best routes to net zero for our future building needs from low carbon materials through to policies to minimise the whole life carbon impact of new buildings.

The Committee invited written submissions on:

  • To what extent have the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations on decarbonising the structural fabric of new homes been met?
  • How can materials be employed to reduce the carbon impact of new buildings, including efficient heating and cooling, and which materials are most effective at reducing embodied carbon?
  • What role can nature-based materials can play in achieving the Government’s net zero ambition?
  • What role can the planning system, permitted development and building regulations play in delivering a sustainable built environment? How can these policies incentivise developers to use low carbon materials and sustainable design?
  • What methods account for embodied carbon in buildings and how can this be consistently applied across the sector?
  • Should the embodied carbon impact of alternative building materials take into account the carbon cost of manufacture and delivery to site, enabling customers to assess the relative impact of imported versus domestically sourced materials?
  • How well is green infrastructure being incorporated into building design and developments to achieve climate resilience and other benefits?
  • How should we take into account the use of materials to minimise carbon footprint, such as use of water harvesting from the roof, grey water circulation, porous surfaces for hardstanding, energy generation systems such as solar panels?
  • How should re-use and refurbishment of buildings be balanced with new developments?
  • What can the Government do to incentivise more repair, maintenance and retrofit of existing buildings?

The inquiry concluded on 15 May 2021.

CIBSE response

CIBSE submitted a response to the inquiry and it will be published, amongst other submissions, on the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry page.